Bhubaneswar: Odisha Assembly was stalled amid repeated adjournments for the third consecutive day on Wednesday as opposition Congress and BJP members protested power tariff hike announced by Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC).
The opposition members had stalled proceedings of the Assembly yesterday and on Monday over alleged distress sale of potato by farmers in the state.
The opposition parties withdrew their agitation over potato after the state government announced its decision of procuring the tubers at the rate of Rs 6 per kg.
As soon as the House assembled today, Opposition members were on their feet raising slogans and waving placards condemning the power tariff hike. As the Congress and BJP members rushed near the Speakers' podium and created a ruckus, the Speaker adjourned the House till 12.30 pm.
The Speaker had to adjourn the House again till 3 pm as similar noisy scenes were witnessed at 12.30 pm.
"We had demanded suspension of the Question Hour and debate on adjournment over power tariff hike. But the Speaker rejected our demand. He is within his rights to reject the demand. But we will continue to raise the issue that affects lakhs of electricity consumers in the state," Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress said.
Demanding roll back of the power tariff hike, BJP legislature party leader Basant Kumar Panda said his party would continue to protest the stiff increase both inside the assembly and outside till the government withdrew it.
Justifying power tariff hike, senior ruling BJD leader Amar Prasad Satpathy said, "We must remember that the hike was not proposed this year. It is an old demand which was rejected both in 2013-14 and 2014-15. But a small hike in tariff had become unavoidable due to the mounting arrears."
Meanwhile, a demonstration was staged by Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) near the Assembly building demanding withdrawal of power tariff hike announced by OERC.
OERC in its notification yesterday increased tariffs by 20 paisa per unit for domestic consumers. After 15 years, electricity tariff for agriculture sector was raised by 40 paise per unit. Poor people getting electricity under Kutir Jyoti Yojana will also have to pay more as monthly tariff has been increased from Rs 65 to Rs 80.